What Is Responsive Website Design?

…And How Does It Apply to You?

 

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of the term Responsive Website Design, but you might be wondering what it means. Responsive Website Design is an approach to web design that adjusts to different browser sizes and devices.

Ever looked at a website on your laptop and your cell phone and noticed how the navigation and layout altered to fit your screen? This isn’t done by accident. Sometimes these sites are simply mobile sites, but the majority of the sites you will see are known as Responsive Websites.

To test whether a site is responsive or not, simply change the size of the browser window on your desktop or laptop and notice how the layout and content conforms with the browser size. A good example of a responsive site is mashable.com. Grab the corner of your browser and bring it in to make the screen smaller. Notice how the menu condenses and allows you to select pages with a drop down navigation? This is done to accommodate those viewing the site on a smaller screen, such as a smart phone or tablet. A site that is not responsive will simply shrink the entire site, forcing you to zoom in and zoom out when being viewed on a phone or tablet.

So now that you know what a responsive website is, let’s break down what you need to know about responsive website design and how it will apply to you.

1. It’s here to stay

Responsive website design emerged a few years ago. It became an established trend in 2013, and it has now set the precedent for future website design. Whether or not the process of how we will make websites responsive in the future remains the same, the general concept of responsive website design is likely here to stay, because of our ever-changing world of technology and the need to provide a seamless user-experience.

2. People are using ‘Mobile’ more than ever before

More and more people are using their smart phones to browse the web. Mobile users have increased from roughly 400 million users in 2007 to nearly 1,700 million users in 2014, which is equivalent to the number of users using PC. As the years continue, mobile usage is expected to exceed PC usage.

3. Having a ‘Mobile’ site is not the same as having a ‘Responsive’ Site

Another way to accomplish the website viewing constraints from PC to Mobile is to develop a ‘mobile site.’ While a ‘mobile site’ will look and act similar to a responsive site, it is not the same. This is due to the process in which responsive sites are developed. A responsive site consists of only one website/URL that is coded and built to conform to its browser size/device. And a mobile site is simply an additional site that is developed specifically for the size of a mobile phone. A mobile site will have two different URLs and two different code bases to maintain.

4. Responsive is good for SEO

Having a responsive site is much better for SEO due to the fact that there is only one URL for Google to navigate. Google loves responsive sites for this very reason and actually favors them, particularly when searching for local services. Responsive sites are also less likely to have high bounce rates because they can easily be interpreted by Google on all devices.

Conclusion

Responsive Website Design is definitely here to stay. Due to all of its benefits, we recommend going responsive when developing a new website. If your current site is not responsive, it’s not a make-or-break deal, however, you might consider an upgrade to responsive in the future.

If you’re unsure which route to take while building your new website it is important to keep in mind that making a site responsive from the beginning is simpler and more cost effective than a retro-fit. The good news about investing in a responsive website, is that your site will be prepared for the future as new devices and gadgets are released. If you are still confused on the whole concept, give us a call – we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Sources